• On Constitution Day, Justice Bobde Remembers 15 Female Members Of Constituent Assembly, Says They’re Not Given Enough Credit

    Apoorva Mandhani

    November 27, 2018

    Supreme Court judge, Justice SA Bobde on Monday gave due recognition and appreciation to the women members of the Constituent Assembly, asserting that these women “are usually not given enough credit for their participation”.

    Justice Bobde, who would be succeeding the CJI, was speaking at the occasion of Constitution Day, when he named the fifteen women: (i) Ammu Swaminathan; (ii) Dakshayani Velayudhan; (iii) Begum Aizaz Rasul; (iv) Durgabai Deshmukh; (v) Hansa Jivraj Mehta; (vi) Kamla Chaudhary; (vii) Leela Roy; (viii) Malati Choudhury; (ix) Purnima Banerjee; (x) Rajkumari Amrit Kaur; (xi) Renuka Ray; (xii) Sarojini Naidu; (xiii) Sucheta Kriplani; (xiv) Vijalakshami Pandit; and (xv) Annie Mascarene.

    He also specifically mentioned Dakshayani Velayudhan, who was the only dalit woman in the Constituent Assembly and lauded the Constituent Assembly for being inclusive.

    “We must take pride in the fact that the  Constituent Assembly was inclusive with regard to not just members that belonged to different social, economical and religious backgrounds but also that 15 out of 389 members in the Assembly were elected women,” he said.

    Justice Bobde further mentioned three other persons, who, he opined, were integral to the making of the Constitution but are not generally recognized. He said, “…first¸ S.N. Mukherjee, the Joint Secretary of the Constituent Assembly Secretariat, who was christened as “the Chief Draftsman of the Constitution” by Dr. Ambedkar. According to Dr. Ambedkar, Mukherjee had the ability to put the most intricate proposals in the world in the simplest and clearest legal form.  

    Secondly, Prem Behari Raizada, the person who transcribed the original Constitution in round calligraphy. Thirdly, Nandalal Bose, who illustrated all the pages of the Constitution with images from India’s cultural past.”

    He also recalled the day, ten years ago, when Bombay was attacked by terrorists and asserted that the attacks strengthened the Rule of Law in India. Recollecting the events during the attacks and after it, he said,

    “I happened to be a Judge at the Bombay High Court at that time and I remember that even when the attackers were at large within the city and bombs were exploding. The Judges of the Bombay High Court took their seat as usual some even without their usual staff. This was a deliberate decision, I think it symbolized the presence of the Rule of Law. Equally important is what happened in the after math of the attacks, some demanded hot pursuit by the Government some talked of lynching the one surviving accused. But what really happened was that a trial was conducted as in all cases. The Accused was given services of an advocate, evidence was led, arguments were advances and the conviction was solely based on the evidence found. The Accused was executed only after the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence.”

    Read the full text of the speech here:


    First published in Live Law.

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